Date for first-year classes yet to be announced
Karachi, Oct 06: In the absence of any official announcement concerning the beginning of first-year classes for the academic session (2010-11), an utter confusion prevails at almost all public-sector colleges in the city though almost a month has elapsed since the expiry of a previous deadline.
As the process of admissions to the city's public-sector colleges is continuing, classes for first-year students may now begin on Oct 10 or Oct 12.
It means that the fresh students will have to complete their entire course in just 105 working days as against the normal academic year of about 180 to 190 days.
Admitting that the current academic session for first-year students has not yet started in the city's government colleges, a senior official associated with the centralized admission policy (CAP) committee attributed it to the inordinate delay caused in accomplishing the process of admissions.
The official said that the placement lists belonging to all the six faculties were issued in piecemeal, consuming more than nine weeks time and because of that not only the students had lost their interest in the process, but it had also created uncertainties among the college administrations.
He said that since the placement lists concerning male (commerce), male (humanities), female (commerce) and female (humanities) groups were issued in between Sept 24 and 30, all those admitted to these faculties were still in the process of completing their remaining admission formalities at the colleges concerned and, as such, the decision concerning beginning of the classes for the fresh students now rests with the principals concerned.
The process of admissions to the government colleges and higher secondary schools of the metropolis which began on July 23 is still continuing as all those candidates who have been accommodated in various colleges are still busy in fulfilling admission formalities concerning submission of forms and fees at the colleges concerned or visiting claim centres for getting rectified the computer errors caused in their placement.
Meanwhile, another factor responsible for the inordinate delay in starting of the classes is errors occurred in the computerised system and these errors are now being rectified at all the 15 claim centres set up by the CAP Committee for the purpose.
In a number of cases, a large number of candidates, particularly girls, have been given admissions to the colleges which are not only quite far away from their residences, but non-availability of the public transport from their residence to the colleges has also made it impossible for their parents to send their children to such institutions.
A visit to the claim centres shows that they have been thronged with a large number of students either to get rectified the errors cropped up in their placement or to get admission to the colleges where the public transport is easily available.
Meanwhile, Sindh education department's decision to include the city's government higher secondary schools under the purview of the CAP once again failed as, according to sources, hardly between one and two per cent fresh matriculates applied for admissions to them, thus leaving a large number seats vacant in these institutions.Your Comments
KUTS threatens week-long strike
Karachi: Rejecting government gestures on budget cuts, representatives of the federal body of university teachers have warned of a five-day strike in protest if the government didn't release the allocated amount to public sector institutions of higher learning.
"The amount of Rs1bn plus which the government has announced to release after five months is peanuts. The government must understand that it's not just a matter of our salaries or allowances as some people are projecting. The universities simply don't have any money to run laboratories or carry out any other work," said Prof Dr Badr Soomro, the secretary-general of the Sindh chapter of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities and Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA), at a press briefing here on Tuesday.Academic activities were on Tuesday completely suspended in a significant number of public sector universities across the province on a call given by the FAPUASA. It was the second time that such a call had been given.
The teachers also demanded the removal of Higher Education Commission's (HEC) chairman, who they believed was unqualified to head the institution, as well as of retired personnel acting as vice chancellors in a number of universities.
They also demanded an immediate support to PhD scholars and inclusion of the association's members in the HEC, which they said was taking unilateral decisions.
The teachers deplored what they termed a 'pathetic attitude' of the government. "Education is state's responsibility. But, what we are witnessing is an extremely insensitive approach. Instead of giving the full allocated quarterly grant, the government releases some amount upon being pressurised when the issue is highlighted in the media, and then abruptly stops the process, leaving the educational institution once again in uncertainty," said Karachi University Teachers' Society (Kuts) President Dr Abid Husnain at the briefing.
Visibly disappointed by the government response, the teachers said that official suggestions of generating funds by selling off university land were reflective of a 'sick mentality'.
"It is ironic that while the government is reluctant to take the rich to task who have gotten billion of rupees of loans written off, it has problems when it comes to the public sector educational institutions of the country," said Dr Faiyaz Vaid of Kuts.The teachers also appealed to the Sindh governor, who is the chancellor of the public sector universities in the province, to transfer the powers of issuing a no-objection certificate (NoC) to the vice chancellors so that the university teachers were relieved of much trouble which they faced due to the delay in the process."It is one of our long-standing demands which the governor had accepted some time ago. It's only in Sindh that university teachers are required to get a no-objection certificate from the governor for any foreign visit. Universities in other provinces had transferred the job to the respective vice chancellors long ago,"
Dr Husnain explained.There was also a call for the immediate government help for about 400 PhD scholars waiting to go abroad on scholarships across the country. The government must come to their support, the teachers demanded.
"These scholars, selected from different universities all over the country and plan to teach in their respective institutions once they finish their studies, had completed all official formalities and waiting for their visas when they were told that the funds' release had been stopped," said Dr Husnain, adding that there were about 200 such cases only in Sindh.
Prof Soomro also called for the immediate removal of those vice-chancellors who had retired long ago but got extensions in their services. Out of 10 public sector universities in Sindh, eight of them had such vice chancellors, he said.
The institutions headed by retired personnel, according to Prof Soomro, were: KU, the NED University of Engineering and Technology, the Dow University of Health Sciences, the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Sindh University, Sindh Agriculture University and the Quaid-i-Awam University of Engineering and Technology, Nawabshah, and the Benazir Bhutto Medical University, Larkana.
He said that three of the eight such universities - Karachi University, Sindh Agriculture University and the DUHS - were headed by Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, Dr A.Q. Mughal and Dr Masood Hameed Khan, respectively, and they were also the members of the governor search committee set up to recommend names for the appointment of vice chancellors.
"The entire process lacks transparency. We demand that an in-service person from the same university having a PhD should be appointed for a single term. Besides, the criteria for appointing a vice chancellor should be the same for all universities," Prof Soomro said.
Schools reopen in Sukkur
Sukkur: Schools in the city reopened on Monday after remaining closed for more than four months.
According to a survey condition of many schools, which served as relief camps for flood victims, is not up to mark.
The schools were to reopen on August 1 after a two-month summer vacation. The internally displaced persons from Jacobabad, Kashmore and Shikarpur districts started coming to Sukkur from the first week of August and were accommodated in the government school buildings and colleges besides tents at open places.
In schools and colleges, where IDPs were staying, concerned staff was deployed to look after both the IDPs and the building structures.
Initially, the IDPs were provided cooked meals. But when the district administration and other agencies distributed dry ration among them, they started cooking meals on their own in these buildings.
Being short of money, the IDPs started breaking school furniture and using it as burning wood and the teachers and in-charge of the relief camps found them helpless, because the IDPs were not ready to listen to them.
Requesting anonymity, a teacher of the Government Modern High School, said that on some occasions the IDPs quarrelled among themselves and threw chairs on each others and damaged the furniture.
They also damaged the flooring of the school by cooking meals, he added.
Teachers seek raise in salary
Umerkot: Feeder teachers, provided to education department by the National Commission for Human Development to restore academic activities in non-functional schools, took out a procession here on Tuesday on the occasion of World Teachers Day.
They were demanding regularisation of their services and increase in their salary.
Speaking on the occasion, teachers' leaders Mohammad Ali and Sawan said that about 7,500 feeder teachers had been serving with the Sindh education department in collaboration of the commission for seven years and had restored academic activities in non-functional schools in far flung areas.
Yet their services were not being regularised and they received a meagre salary of Rs2,500 per month, they said. Initially they were paid Rs1,000 salary but later it was increased to Rs2,500 on the basis of their better performance.
They said that the government announcement of Rs7,000 minimum wages had proved to be a hollow slogan.
Our Hyderabad bureau adds: To mark the World Teachers Day, a procession was taken out from Government High School, Society, to the press club. Dawn
Latest Oxford Dictionary with innovations launched
Karachi: The eighth edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (OALD) was launched Tuesday evening.
The launch, sponsored jointly by the UK Deputy-High Commission and the Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan, was held on the beautifully manicured lawns of the UK Deputy-High Commission at Runnymede, amid a cool evening sea breeze.
The latest edition of the dictionary is unique in that it incorporates a lot of information technology and computers.
Welcoming the guests, Mrs Ameena Saiyid, OBE, Managing Director, OUP (Pakistan), said that the chief aim of the Oxford University Press was to disseminate knowledge and education across the world, adding that the dictionary was one of the most important tools of learning. In its new eighth edition, she said, the dictionary had been revised to make it even more handy and more relevant to the demands of the present age. In this context, she mentioned the Oxford Writing Tutor, an innovation that helps improve the students' written work and teaches them not to just write correctly but also effectively. Another feature she mentioned was the top collocation box in which the writers find the vocabulary pertaining to the subject they have chosen to write about.
She said that the eighth edition offered more interactive support on CD-Rom which was the most appropriate companion for the print version. The eighth edition CD-Rom was a powerful learning tool, she said, and was proof of how research could help a product keep up with and satisfy a new generation of consumers.
Ms Raheela Ashraf explained the new revolutionary technological features in detail. Through a slide presentation, she traced the history of the Oxford Dictionary beginning 1948.
She explained seven new features of the OALD in detail and also the detailed working of the Oxford Writing Tutor and another revolutionary innovation, the i-writer.
United Kingdom Deputy-high Commissioner and Director, UK Trade and Investment in Pakistan, Robert Gibson,
said that English was the most widely spoken language internationally with 380 million native English speakers alone. Besides, he said, there were 700 million people across the globe learning English. In lighter vein, he said, "Perhaps the next edition of the dictionary will teach the Consuls-General how to make their speeches".
Through the global influence of science, the arts, and the internet English was now the most widely learned second language, he said.
The OALD, he said, could be a key to achieving the aim of learning.
Being Director of the UK Trade and Investment in Pakistan, he said that last year the turnover of UK trade and investment in Pakistan crossed the 1 billion- dollar mark. He said that projects like the Oxford University Press were also very much part of the UK's investment in Pakistan.
Among others, the function was attended by school, college, and university teachers and prominent figures in the fields of education and journalism. The news